Mar 18, 2013

Top Energy Consumption Management Tools for Reduced Occupancy Costs

By Don Catalano



Energy consumption management tools help reduce the cost of occupying your corporate real estate portfolio. Research conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency indicates that approximately 30 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings ends up being wasted. Between inefficient system design, varying use patterns, and wasted energy during down times, the typical commercial building presents significant opportunities to reduce energy consumption and reduce occupancy costs. The top energy consumption management tools are integrated packages that offer many different ways to analyze your building's energy usage.

The most basic functionality that energy consumption management tools offer is the ability to track and analyze a building's energy usage. The Green Button initiative, developed by a partnership between the utility industry, the federal government's National Institute of Standards and Technology and the North American Energy Standards Board, specifies a standard that utilities can use to provide energy usage data. The standardized data enables energy management software to import the data without requiring additional data entry on the part of corporate real estate staff.

The Green Button Connect system takes the technology to the next level by allowing utility companies to automatically download usage data right to a building's management systems. For buildings that are not served by Green Button-compliant utilities, energy consumption management systems can also interact directly with the building's metering systems.

The top energy tools go beyond monitoring and analysis, though. They integrate with a building management system to proactively control a building's energy use. Here are some examples of what energy consumption management tools can do to reduce consumption:

  • The software can sense the time of day and, as necessary, shut off unnecessary lighting or heating systems. This can eliminate the problem of having a cleaning crew leave a building's lights on for an entire night or weekend.

  • Based on projections from a building's hoteling system, the energy consumption management software could shut down entire sections of a work floor if it is expected to not be needed on a given day. This saves energy but also clusters employees close to each other to, hopefully, promote collaboration and productivity.

  • Energy management tools can use conference room schedules to turn on the lights and heat in a conference room right before it is to go into use and to turn the lights and heat down after the meeting's scheduled ending time..

The average office building consumes 17 kilowatt-hours of power and 32 cf of natural gas per year for every square foot of building area. Given that lighting and interior climate control represents 65 percent of that energy usage, energy consumption management software can help your company reduce its real estate occupancy costs. Choosing a top tool that meets the ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard will give your company access to best-in-breed technology to maximize its savings.

Here are some other great tips on cutting CRE Occupancy Costs:

Office Build-Out and Occupancy Costs

4 Occupancy Cost Metrics You Should Be Using

The Top 4 Ways to Uncover Hidden Occupancy Costs

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Don Catalano

Don Catalano